Daylight Savings Time has hit me hard this week. It has kicked me to the curb! Maybe it’s because it followed directly on the heels of Appointment-making Week as a DS and I’ve had 22 meetings since Sunday with church leaders and clergy where a pastoral change is anticipated. There have been other meetings, too. When I woke up yesterday morning to the darkness and rain, I did not want to get out of bed, but I made it. This morning I’m in an antihistamine induced fog from the pre-spring pollen brought on by the blooming rain, pun intended. On top of that, there have been more than a couple of those phone calls this morning that every DS, pastor, business person, and whomever gets from someone and you’re left wondering, “What in the world was that about?”
Maybe it’s me. Heck, I’m certain it’s me that’s fuzzy today, but it is really scary when it seems to be contagious. I don’t think there’s a full moon out, but it feels like it. I’ve met or dealt with more than my share of folks who seem to be suffering from what I call “full-moon-itis.” Just as the moon affects the tides, do you ever wonder if it pulls on some people’s brains, stretching them a little farther than necessary from their spinal cords resulting in a peculiar lack of clarity and good sense? It’s even worse when, like today, it’s a mutual lunar pull toward the abyss of nonsense. This just might be one of those days when I just need to go home! We’ll see.
In the meantime, I will do my best to not react but respond. I even have a few standard statements to remind me to chill out. One is “I have no opinion.” Of course, I have one, but I try to stay objective and actively listen. Basically it’s a phrase that allows another person’s ideas to run their course and hope that sanity returns. Another non-anxious response to ponderous situations is, “That’s interesting.” When said I try to make sure I don’t twitch, raise an eyebrow, or move my head in any direction. No exclamation point. If I move anything or even blink, invariably I’ll hear words put in my mouth later, “The DS said….” My last resort retort is “Fascinating…” if what I hear is really a doozy. Again, don’t move anything!
Of course, I just revealed the default language that I often use to keep my wits about me. By the way, what you will never want to hear from me is “How nice!” Some of you probably know the source of this phrase. Please hear me say very carefully that this is not a preachable story, and if anyone is offended, please blame it on my condition.
It comes from a story of two Southern Belles sitting on the veranda of a grand home. Anyway, the two women are sitting there sipping their mint juleps. One woman is named Darlene and the other is Dessie Mae. Darlene proceeds to tell Dessie Mae all the wonderful things that her husband, Billy Bob, has done for her. She exclaims, “Look at the 5 carat diamond Billy Bob gave me. It wasn’t my birthday or anniversary. He just said, ‘Honey, this is for you!’” Dessie Mae responds by saying, “How nice,” which really sounds like, “How nyce,” in her elongated southern-accented lingo. Anyway, Darlene continues with her accolades for Billy Bob by saying, “Dessie Mae, do you see the red corvette convertible under the magnolia tree? Billy Bob just dropped the keys in my hand one day and said, ‘Honey, this is for you. I thought you would look good in red.’ It wasn’t my birthday or anything. Billy Bob is such a dear.” Dessie Mae responded by saying, “How nice.” Then Darlene said, “Dessie Mae, you know what else he did? Last year he sent me on a ten-day cruise, bought me a bunch of gowns, didn’t go with me, and said, ‘Honey, you have fun and dance with whoever you want to. You deserve it!’ It wasn’t my birthday or anything like it.” Dessie Mae responded once again, “How nice.”
Finally Darlene said, “I’m sorry, Dessie Mae, I’ve been going on and on about everything that Billy Bob has done for me. Has your husband ever done anything like this for you?” Dessie Mae replied, “Why, Yes! Last year he sent me off to charm school and now instead of saying ‘Up …..,’ I say, ‘How nice.’”
I don’t know what your day is like today, but please don’t make it worse by saying “How nice.” I pledge, even in my condition, to listen intently, offer appropriate responses, and work my way back into the land of the living. You can only blame so much on the time change, sleep deprivation, and the full moon. I need Jesus and to follow his admonition in Matthew 10:16 to be as “shrewd as a serpent and as innocent as a dove.” I also need to heed Proverbs 15:1, “A gentle answer turns away wrath…” It’s fascinating, and I really mean it!